The Low End Mac Mailbag

MacBook Glossy Screen Problems, Classic Option for Intel Macs, and More on Replacing Home Page

Dan Knight - 2006.05.17

MacBook's Glossy Screen

Simon Magennis writes:

Regarding the [MacBook] value equation. I am absolutely certain that the MacBook will be a huge success - it should sell like the proverbial hotcakes. However, I will take some convincing that glossy screen works as a day in, day out working place. I think the reflections from all the lights aroud us will make it a non-runner in many places. Everything bar the screen is perfect. I had an Acer widescreen of the same dimensions/resolution for a few weeks (matte, not glossy), and I found I didn't actually like the shape of the screen. I'd have preferred standard format. I'm looking forward to trying one. Meantime I've just bought a second hand 12" PowerBook.

Simon

I don't feel qualified to comment on the MacBook's screen until I've had a chance to see it, but my experience with a 15" widescreen Acer Aspire (my WinXP/Ubuntu Linux machine used primarily to test page design issues with Internet Explorer 6) has been a frustrating one. There's almost nowhere you can use it without glare and reflections.

The best commentary I've seen on Apple's shiny MacBook screen comes from John Siracusa of ars technica. In And We All Shine On, he openly wonders why shiny screens have taken over the PC notebook market and concludes that it's probably due to their greater brightness and richer colors when compared side-by-side with matte screens.

In short, he sees shiny as a sales tool, not a practical benefit, and Apple as simply following the Wintel lead in adopting a shiny display on the MacBook and making it optional on the Pro models. Based on limited experience with my Acer Aspire, I think he's on to something.

SheepShaver, a Classic Option for Intel Macs

Jay Random writes:

Dear Mr. Knight:

Excellent column on the MacBook.

As an Apple shareholder myself, I'm actually rather glad to see the $150 vanity tax on the black model. It's almost pure profit for Apple, and I suspect it will sell rather well. Some people were crazy enough to buy multiple iPod minis so they could colour-coordinate, and those were more than $150 apiece. If you don't want to pay, buy white - which was your only option before, anyway. Nobody loses.

In re Classic on an Intel Mac: SheepShaver is supposed to support Mac OS 7.5.2(!) through 9.0.4 on Intel Macs. It ought to do a decent job on Claris Home Page. You can download it as a universal binary from this site:

http://www.gibix.net/dokuwiki/en:projects:sheepshaver

Caveat: I haven't tried this myself, as I have not yet bought an Intel Mac. But I hope it helps. If you give it a try, do let us all know the results in a future column!

Thanks for the good work,
Jay Random

Thanks for the suggestion, Jay.

For those unfamiliar with SheepShaver, it's an Open Source project to emulate a PowerPC Mac that had its origins in the days of BeOS (1998). The latest version emulates a G4 and requires a ROM image from a real Macintosh.

I haven't tried SheepShaver, since my Macs already run Classic mode, but what I've read online talks about "limited OS 9 compatibility" (nothing later than 9.0.4 according to Wikipedia) and difficulty getting the program installed and running. It does sound like it has real potential.

If any of our readers have experience with SheepShaver on the Intel-based Macs, I'd love to hear from them and share their findings.

Replacing Claris Home Page

Gilbert Wildin writes:

I, too, miss Home Page. It was the only webpage software that I had bothered to learn. I tried RapidWeaver, but I didn't like the templates at all - too restricting, and I thought the documentation was lacking. It was an exercise in frustration for me.

I tried Freeway Express and loved it. It's drag and drop, and it allows easy manipulation of graphic images. I still think it's not as good as Home Page in many ways, but it is my favorite now. The price of $100 was a bit steep for the Express version, but I did on webpage for a friend, and he offered to pay for the software.

Give it a try.

Gilbert Wildin

Thanks for writing, Gilbert.

I've visited the Softpress site and downloaded the 30-day trial version of Freeway Express. Seeing the following has not encouraged me: "Freeway Express is a consumer version of Freeway, especially designed for beginners or home users. It can only open or save Freeway Express files."

Low End Mac has thousands of articles, and I sometimes need to open up an old file to make a change (add a link to a computer profile, remove a bad link, etc.). Any program that won't let me open and edit existing HTML files won't work for me.

Nice as it looks, Freeway Express isn't the right tool for me. Neither is iWeb, which I discovered after buying iLife '06.

RapidWeaver HTML Import Trick

Patrick Robertshaw writes:

Great site guys! I just was reading Dan's recent article about the ongoing search for a Claris Home Page replacement and noticed that, other than it's "inability" to open existing pages, RapidWeaver was a strong contender. I'm not sure if he'd noticed, but while RapidWeaver won't open existing pages from the file menu, it will open them just fine if you use the old Mac method of dragging and dropping the file icon onto the application window.

Just thought I'd mention it in case it opens up any avenues that might otherwise appear closed.

Cheers, and keep up the excellent work!

Patrick

Thanks for the tip, Patrick. I launched RapidWeaver, dragged a sample page into it, and it did indeed display it. The drawback next drawback is that I can't simply save the new page, nor does it know the file name and location of the page I just opened. It looks like a nice tool for creating a new website, not something practical for working with an existing one.

eMac Processor Upgrade?

Rick Mansfield writes:

I have an original 2002 700 MHz eMac. I have upgraded the hard drive and maxed out the RAM. The only thing I wish I could do is put in a processor upgrade. Do you know if any company makes a processor upgrade for the eMac?

Thanks,
Rick

Rick, I haven't heard of a processor upgrade for the eMac. EveryMac notes, "the CPU on the eMac appears to be mounted directly to the motherboard, and therefore, is not easily upgradable."

In short, any CPU upgrade would require removing the current G4 from the motherboard (not from a CPU socket) and installing a new processor. And that would mean shipping your 50 lb. eMac to to someone who could do that. Between the cost of shipping both ways and the amount of time involved in such a process, I don't think it would be economical.

It would probably be more sensible to pick up a used or refurbished 1 GHz or faster eMac, transplant your hard drive, sell your eMac 700, and max out RAM in the replacement eMac.

Rick Mansfield responds:

Thanks for the info. It's a secondary machine. I've got a PowerBook G4 that I bought last year which is my primary machine. I'll probably just let this eMac live out the course of its natural life. If there were ever a processor upgrade, I'd probably add one, but otherwise, I'll just hold onto it for a while.

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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